Republicans raise legal questions ahead of Gitmo order

Republicans raise legal questions ahead of Gitmo order

House Republicans who have served in the military are urging the Joint Chiefs of Staff to seek legal guidance before following any orders from the President Obama to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States

In letter Monday, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) and 15 of his veteran colleagues, told the Joint Chiefs to seek appropriate legal advice, prior to executing any order from the president.

“It is of great concern to us that President Obama may be considering ordering a transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States via executive order,” their letter said. “It is our view that such an order, if given, would violate legislation that the President signed into law prohibiting the use of Department of Defense funds for such a purpose.”

Under the National Defense Authorization Act, which the president is expected to sign soon, detainees can’t be transferred into the United States, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen. Obama supporters, however, argue that Article II of the Constitution gives the president the legal authority to decide not only where to put troops, but also where to hold prisoners, a claim Republicans reject.

“As the urgency of the threat presented by Islamic extremism grows, we cannot afford to have the commander-in-chief issue executive orders in direct contravention of laws that he enacted,” Pompeo said in a statement. “I encourage the Joint Chiefs of Staff carry out an exhaustive legal review before implementing any executive order transferring these dangerous terrorists to the United States. In the words of John Adams, ‘We are a government of laws, not men,’ and the express will of Congress should prevail over the express will of one man.”

With Pompeo, Monday’s letter was signed by Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Jim BridenstineJim BridenstineLawmakers sound alarm on space security The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House MORE (R-Okla.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordThe Hill's Whip List: 19 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill GOP rep: Clash between Nunes and Schiff a 'little difference of opinion' The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Ark.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Peter King (R-NY), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Don YoungDon YoungLawmakers urge debate on Afghanistan war House GOP not sold on Ryan’s tax reform plan Liberal group funds 0K in attack ads after healthcare vote MORE (R-Alaska) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).